Bob Menendez, Battling Bribery Charges And Without Staff, Will Run As An Independent

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is filing to run for reelection as an independent in the midst of his federal corruption trial, the New Jersey Globe reported Monday.

Menendez is reportedly sending a friend to deliver his petitions to the New Jersey Division of Elections. He can’t go himself because he’s on day 12 of his trial, where he’s facing charges of allegedly accepting gold bars and cash in exchange for using his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen.

The three-term senator doesn’t have any campaign staff, and has picked himself to run his independent Senate bid, according to the Globe.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) is running for the same Senate seat, and is on track to win the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

“Americans are fed up with politicians putting their own personal benefit ahead of what’s right for the country,” Kim said in a statement. “Everyone knows Bob Menendez isn’t running for the people of New Jersey, he’s doing it for himself. It’s beyond time for change and I’m stepping up to restore integrity back into the U.S. Senate.”

Menendez’s Senate office declined to comment.

But the senator posted a statement on Facebook through his Senate campaign page, spelling out why he is running for reelection while fighting federal corruption charges. He maintained his innocence and talked about all the federal money he’s delivered to New Jersey residents in his 18 years in the Senate.

“As I have said before; I have committed no crime,” Menendez said. “I am more confident than ever that New Jerseyans and the rest of the American public will see me exonerated of what I am being accused of, and I will be re-elected to the Senate once again.”

Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United/Let America Vote, a pro-democracy nonprofit, said her group is standing solidly with Kim, who “has been at the forefront of the fight to root out corruption” in politics.

“Corruption will officially be on the ballot in New Jersey this November,” Muller said in a statement. “Senator Menendez has disgraced the office and betrayed the people of New Jersey.”

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) has previously called on Menendez to resign amid his corruption scandal. Asked for comment on Monday about Menendez’s decision to run as an independent, Fetterman’s office provided this response:

Yes, this was the actual response.
Yes, this was the actual response. Office of John Fetterman